Posted in Monday Mayhem

Excerpt

On October 20, I will be releasing Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise, the final book to my zombie apocalypse trilogy. I’ll spare you the long introduction. Below is the first chapter. I hope you enjoy it.

Matty’s gaze locked on to Randy. There were too many. The redhead knew if they didn’t do something fast, they’d quickly become bait for the undead. As she let off one shot after another from her silver Colt .45, a gun that had once belonged to her grandfather, a terrible thought sliced through her head. What if this was it? What if this would be the last time she’d ever see Randy alive again? Then what? Her plan never included dying at the hands of the horde.

The undead crashed through the door, piling into the abandoned parking garage. As one zombie fell, another would take its place. As the bullets hit their targets, green blood flowed freely into the cracks of the pavement.

“We’ve got to do something, Matty.” Randy said, reloading his gun. “We won’t be able to hold them back much longer.”

He was right. The crowd had chased them clear across the back alleys of Sedona and into an empty apartment building where he and Matty thought they’d be safe. But when the rotting corpses burst through the outside door, then burrowed their way through a second door at the top of the stairs leading into the garage, the kids couldn’t think of anything to do other than open fire.

Despite the heavy shelling the zombies received by the pair, the undead didn’t surrender. They continued to flood the basement at the cost of losing more of their brothers and sisters in death.

While a group of zombies hugged the walls near the parked cars, Matty called to Randy and nodded at the vehicle closest to the door. A hidden language was in place between the fifteen-year-olds. When one would signal an idea, no matter how vague the signal appeared to be, the other would run with it. Chances were good they had the same idea. In this case, they did.

The kids retreated to the very back of the parking garage, diving behind several cars and trucks. Nothing had stemmed the flow of bodies shoving their way toward their next meal. The undead footsteps slamming against the hard pavement of the empty area sounded as thunder.

“Now, Randy!” Matty said. “Now!”

Without hesitating, Randy perched his arms on the hood of the car and aimed his gun. The crosshairs landed on the gas tank of the parked vehicle next to the door from where the undead came. He took the shot. He missed. Instead, he clipped the taillights, sending shards of plastic all over the back wall opposite his target.

“Do you want me to do this?” Matty asked.

“I got this.” Randy adjusted his grip to his gun.

In the meantime, the sons of rot continued to hug the walls, shinnying closer to where the teens hid.

Randy closed one eye, stared across the barrel of his gun, and aimed dead center at the gas tank. This time, he thought, he wasn’t going to miss. As more zombies poured into the parking garage, he slowly squeezed the trigger. The sweat from his forehead trickled from his brow into his open eye. He blinked several times until the sound of the gunshot echoed through the lot.

The bullet screamed through the air and hit the car without a problem, but it didn’t hit the tank. It hit the wheel and flattened it.

“You’re kidding me, right?” Matty’s ponytail jumped in the air as she grabbed Randy by the scruff of the neck. “Let me do it.”

“I said I got this.” He twisted his shoulders pushing her hand away.

The group of zombies hugging the walls was now halfway in its journey to making Matty and Randy a main course to a feast of its choosing. That was to say if Randy had anything to do with it. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to Matty. With both hands cradling his gun, he pursed his lips, squinted, and took a deep breath before he positioned his arms back on the hood of the car. Determination covered his face and he held his grip firmly on his weapon until peace passed over him.

The bullet left his gun in a flash and pierced the tank where the car rested, igniting the tank and the back end of the car. It exploded into a firestorm, taking the zombies hugging the walls and everything else in the sizzling blaze.

Flames crawled along the walls engulfing the door and the family of flesh eaters that had entered the parking garage. The fire ate through the crowd, shooting into the stairwell and flooding the steps with heat.

Nothing survived.

When Matty and Randy raised their heads from their hiding place, they couldn’t believe the devastation Randy had caused. They jumped into the air, slapped high-fives then fell into an embrace with one another. Bodies littered the floor of the garage torn apart from the explosion. The kids had imagined what it would have been like hitting that gas tank, but nothing quite as extensive to cause everything to become charred cinder.

In the midst of the kids’ celebration, as they held each other a while longer, the crowd of zombies that had hugged the walls hit by the fireball and was seemingly lying on the floor dead, began to rise. Whatever had happened, whether the flames weren’t hot enough or the impact of the explosion hadn’t been strong enough, they continued to lift from their fiery grave.

Gawking at the sight, Matty released Randy, pulled her gun and began shooting at anything that moved. Randy did the same without regard to what they would do if they ran out of bullets.

It took a few minutes before the inevitable happened. They ran out of bullets.

Randy tossed his gun and searched everywhere for something he could use to defend themselves from the rising bodies. But Matty had another idea. She yanked Randy’s sleeve and pointed to a door hidden in the shadows behind them. If they could make it to the door, she thought, they’d have a chance of living another day without worrying about the undead. At least that was the plan.

An even half-dozen rose from the ashes of the explosion, skin seared, hair razzed. The undead spotted the kids and their white eyes grew wider knowing the pain they had gone through would never satisfy their hunger for human flesh. Their lips quivered in a roar as they dragged from the spent fire. Their clothes hung from their skin. From that moment forward, not a bullet, human or fire would stop the zombie horde from shrieking its appetite to take hold of the kids.

Across the scorched threshold, Matty estimated they’d have ten seconds before the throng would reach them. It was not something she had imagined. The air caught in her lungs and she tore from her crouch, hauling Randy along with her.

The couple scurried to the door behind them, slamming into it, unable to stop from the inertia of their run. She grabbed the door handle and twisted it. No use, it wouldn’t turn.

“Turn it, Matty! Turn it!” Randy poked her in the shoulder.

She frantically twisted the handle, rattling it, pushing, pulling and finally kicking the door at the same time. The door, however, didn’t give in to her desire for freedom. It stood solid, and in some way, mocked her saying it had the last word regarding their fate.

Matty faced Randy with a ghost in her eyes. The realization hit that they had reached the end. They had escaped the undead clutches multiple times, ducking in alleys, stores, tossing broken crates in their path, slamming doors behind them, climbing fences and finally hiding in the parking garage thinking they had outwitted the undead crowd. Their last chance to leave death behind evaporated with that last tug at the door handle.

“What are we going to do?” Randy asked. He had always looked to her for a good idea.

“I don’t know.” Matty answered, allowing a moment where the groans of the rotting monsters could fade in the distance. “Randy, I have to tell you something. I don’t know if this will make sense to you or not, but I have to say it because it’s in my heart, and I’ve felt this a long time. I couldn’t bear to think what I’d do if I left without you knowing what’s been weighing on my mind.”

“What is it?”

“I—”

A blast tore through the silence and ignited the parking garage with sound.

The kids gazed at the opening of the stairs where moments ago a fireball had consumed everything in its wake. A silhouette appeared from the smoke. Solid. Firm in its stance. When he took a step forward, the remnant of the garage lights shining from above caught and revealed his face—Ranger Martin. Zombie slayer. The undead’s worst enemy.

Ranger adjusted his Oklahoma City RedHawks cap and reloaded his trusty Mossberg 500. Without a word, he pulled the trigger on his first victim, a deranged dragger that possessed no concept of self-preservation. Its brains splattered on the wall behind. The eater stood there for a moment with a gaping hole in its skull until it dropped to its knees and collapsed. The remaining five steered their attention away from Matty and Randy and pushed against the wall toward Ranger. No one had the right to kill one of theirs.

Despite what the undead thought, Ranger tossed several more volleys of gunfire into the horde, eliminating three more of the mass. As he reloaded, the two that remained turned and quickly raced to the teens that hadn’t moved from the door. Their feet had frozen in place as fear washed over their face. They had nowhere to go except forward, but that wasn’t an option either because forward was from where the zombies came.

In that split second while Ranger reloaded, a boy appeared from the shadows of the stairwell. No more than eight years-old, he shouted, “Matty, catch!” And with a long toss, a clip hurled through the air, passing over the heads of the undead to land in Matty’s hand. Instinct propelled her to unload her Colt .45, inject the new clip and pull a bullet in the gun’s chamber.

Bring ‘em on.

The zombie pair extended their paws as drool spilled from their mouths with only a few feet between them and their dinner. They were so close they could taste the kids.

At the same time that the redhead had reloaded her gun, so did Ranger. Two shots escaped their weapons and both zombies dropped to the ground. Green poured from their wounds. The undead never had a chance.

Relief blanketed Randy’s face. He thought for sure they would have met with death this time around, but fate had other plans for them.

Ranger slipped his shotgun in the holster that he had tied around his right leg, and he strolled toward the kids. Smoke smoldered in the background. Matty also had a place for her gun. She hid it in the small of her back. The teens met with Ranger in the center of the underground lot. Jon, the eight-year-old boy who saved Matty’s life, ran and hugged her. He said, “You didn’t think we’d find you. Did you, sis?”

“I knew you’d show up sometime.”

“You did not!” He pulled away from her then smiled.

“Sure I did. There was no way you’d miss the explosion. How many doors did it take out upstairs? Three? Four? I’m sure it even blew out a few windows, too.”

“You’re so full of yourself.”

Ranger shook Randy’s hand and said, “I thought we lost you.”

“You’re kidding. With Matty around? I wouldn’t think anything else would’ve survived.”

The reunion didn’t last long. As soon as they did away with the pleasantries, the sound of a thump travelled through the garage to hit their ears. Another thump, but this time it sounded like a pounding had erupted from behind the door where Matty and Randy wanted to escape. It happened again. Massive hits to the door until there was silence.

Jon’s face flattened. Matty stared at Ranger while Randy focused on the source of the pounding. They didn’t need another fight—not when they had resolved to put away their guns and go home.

Something else had other plans.

The handle to the door slowly turned as the four watched with gaping mouths. The latch clicked open and from the backdoor stepped a chewer, pale and tired. It must have heard the fuss from the other side. Soon, another appeared. Then another. And another. The longer the humans stood motionless, the more the undead emptied from the door.

“Now would be a good time to run.” Ranger said to the kids. “Go!”

They dashed to the stairwell from where the fire had left ash and soot in its path. As Ranger followed, he had an idea. He wasn’t ready to take a stand, not against fifty of the gut-churners. However, he did want to make clear that nothing would threaten the kids under his protection. This he knew to be true.

When the kids had all but disappeared into the stairwell, all except for Matty who trailed behind, Ranger grabbed her gun from the small of her back, pushed her into the stairwell, and aimed the weapon at the car she and Randy had hid behind when they had set off the first explosion. He waited until the crowd had passed the vehicle to pull the trigger.

The bullet burst through the gas tank and sparked another fireball, bigger than the last, taking with it three other cars. Shrapnel tore through the bodies as if they were sacks of green oatmeal bursting into liquid sludge. Whatever the fire didn’t catch, the shrapnel took care of.

In that instant, when Ranger could have waited a little longer to witness the destruction he had caused, he slammed the door shut behind him as the flames raced and crashed into it, trapping the undead throng.

As the blaze consumed everything in the parking garage, Ranger escaped with the kids with only one thing leaving his lips. “Yahoo!”

Search for Paradise Excerpt

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Cover Reveal

Four years later, it’s done. The final book to my Ranger Martin zombie series is complete. Today I reveal the cover to Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise. Am I excited? I wouldn’t know where to start to tell you how I feel right now. Yeah, I am excited. Can’t you tell? Next month, my dream will come true. On October 20, 2015, the book releases.

Ranger Martin and the Search for ParadiseLast Friday, I’d promised I’d tell you where the idea for Ranger Martin came from.

As clichéd as it sounds, I woke up one morning in October 2011 with Ranger’s name surfing through my head. While shaving, the image of a zombie slayer turned father-figure began to take shape. Ranger would travel across the country saving kids from the likes of chewers and eaters, providing lodging and giving them a purpose for their existence.

The story grew after I had entered it as part of National Novel Writing Month in November that year.

Two of the other main characters in the series are Matty, a fifteen-year-old who doesn’t take any flak from anyone, and her know-it-all eight-year-old brother, Jon. Together, they’re the ones who cause Ranger the most grief.

What I found interesting writing this series is how the stories for each book flowed without much effort on my part. I had a general idea of how it would all work—actually, all I had were the titles Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion, Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise, and the endings. Beyond that, I hadn’t a clue as to what would happen in each novel. Every day that I took to my writing hole there was an adventure awaiting for me to discover.

In all honesty, it was as if I were taking dictation.

Anyway, to give you an idea where the cover came from, the photo is from October 2004. I was sitting on a hill watching the boats pass at Toronto’s Waterfront when I saw a women standing on the dock. She caught my attention and I snapped her picture. A few seconds was all it took and she was gone. Years later, I would remember that photo and it made me wonder whatever happened to that woman. What was she thinking while she stared into the distance? Was she thinking of her family? Was she thinking of a long lost love? Or was she simply standing there because she saw me taking photos of the area knowing she would become a timeless image for others to talk about?

If she only knew her image would become part of the cover to my next book, I’m sure now she would think it flattering.

Not to make it sound as if the whole process for writing the trilogy was easy, I had to sacrifice a better part of my Sundays and evenings to put the series together. That included dedicating writing sessions between events such as home renovations, birthdays, driving my kids to recitals, long weekends, funerals, and anything else you can classify as mundane tasks that would make up life. Add to the laundry list the blog schedule I had committed to in December 2012 to write three posts a week, no matter what the circumstances, and you have a very busy Jack.

Mind you, I’m not complaining—I’m explaining. Then again, I wouldn’t trade in the experience for anything in the world. If it hadn’t been for Ranger Martin, I wouldn’t have found the writing rhythm that works for me. Ranger taught me

  • Never to surrender.
  • Always be consistent.
  • And never pay attention to what the crowd is doing.

Okay, I think I can now can tell you what Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise is about! From the back jacket:

There is no cure. The change is permanent. Whoever says they can fix this is wrong.

Months ago, billions of people died in the zombie apocalypse. The survivors either have become refugees looking for a way out or have turned against each other. No one will admit they killed their friend for a package of raisins. It happens though, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it.

Undead slayer Ranger Martin makes the unforgiving Arizona desert his home. He has never had to defend it. He has never had to kill anyone for it. If anything, he has shelved his shotgun and has taken an early retirement package.

That is, until now.

When the military lays siege on his silo, Ranger and his crack team of professionals—a bunch of kids, really—have no other choice than to run. But after he discovers a map that may lead to a mythic city called Paradise, where neither army nor zombie can invade, Ranger mounts a cross-state journey to find the place of safety before the others find him and it’s too late.

Now, because I would love for everyone on the planet to enjoy Ranger Martin’s way of solving the zombie problem, and in celebration of my October 20 release of my new book, starting tomorrow for 5 days, I will be offering the first book in the trilogy Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse FREE. That’s right. You’ll be able to download it without spending a dime. It’s my way of showing my appreciation for all the support extended to me these past few years while I teetered on the edge of insanity doing what I love doing—writing about the zombie apocalypse.

Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse

Thanks everyone for all your support!

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Pre-Cover Reveal

When it comes to announcements, I’m never quite sure how to go about making them. Sometimes, I keep it a secret for as long as I can in order to maximize its impact. Other times though, I want to talk about it until I collapse on my bed and wish for a time less stressful.

Pre-Cover RevealToday, I’m trying to figure out which one of these times this is.

This coming Monday I will reveal the cover to my new book Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise, which hits the shelves on October 20. I’m excited about it, but at the same time, sad. The book is the final entry in the Ranger Martin zombie trilogy.

For those of you unfamiliar with how the Ranger Martin series came to be, I had written the first book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse during 2011’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a writing contest that takes place annually in November as a way to spurn writers to compete against themselves in order to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I joined the challenge thinking it would be a good opportunity to exercise my skills as a writer and write the book I’ve always wanted to write, even if I had no idea what the project was going to be about. I joined anyway with the hope it would take on a life of its own.

Pre-Cover RevealFor a month, I had no friends.

Yeah, you can say I went all OCD on everyone. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 1,666 words every day for 30 days and I approached it as if it were a war. No matter what, I wouldn’t let anything or anyone get in the way of my goal to complete the manuscript.

I was such an idiot. Seriously.

Part of that attitude came from the fact that the most I could produce at that time was 500 words a day. I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of producing three times that amount. Ever. I can truly say it is also the reason some reviewers felt the writing in the first novel had a sense of urgency. And there was. Every day was a race against the clock to get my ideas into the manuscript before midnight. The way it works is if I missed one day, it meant I would have had to write 3,332 words the next day. And that, to me, would have been equivalent to clamping my head to a paint mixer and flipping the switch.

Looking back, I now see how silly that was, given today I write every day out of habit. You know what else, though? Once I had immersed myself in Ranger Martin’s world, I was producing far more than the assigned daily quota. I actually was having fun, even if I had shunned society for the entirety of November that year.

Anyway, I was planning to talk about Ranger Martin, how the character came to be, but it looks like I’m running out of time. I guess I’ll save it until Monday.

Just know I’m excited to show you the cover. It’s a journey completed. I really can’t wait.

Oh, and by the way, in celebration of the Ranger Martin and the Search for Paradise release, I’m offering the first book Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse FREE next week for 5 days, starting on Tuesday. It’s my way to thank you all for putting up with my long-winded posts about zombies, women who wow, macho warriors, and anything else that may have caught my attention.

Here’s the first of the plugs I’m publishing for this celebration. Thanks for the support.

Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Dreams

I’ve put away some dreams. Did I have a choice? Yet, others I have kept alive by making them a reality. What would life be without dreams? Here are some of the dreams I left behind as I grew older.

Astronaut
Astronaut

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Oh, how I wanted to travel in space looking for life on other planets and perhaps bring back a few aliens to earth. I quickly gave that up realizing I suffered from motion sickness. Every single time I rode in the back of my parents’ car, I can’t tell you how many times I christened the seats with the contents of my meals.

When I was a bit older, I wanted to be a lawyer. Unfortunately, I had to forget that dream when I found out that I wasn’t very good at arguing. Back then, my arguments went something like this:

Girl who liked me: “Did you break my bike?”
Me: “No.”
Girl who liked me: “You were the last person to use it.”
Me: “I didn’t break your bike.”
Girl who liked me: “You did break it. You suck.”
Me: “Well, you suck harder. So there.”

Like I said, I wasn’t very good at arguing.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a rock star. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I learned all Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page‘s licks, joined a wedding band–I didn’t say I knew what I was doing, did I?–and eventually started my own band. We didn’t make much money, but the stress of lugging our own equipment wasn’t what I’d hoped. Where were the girls? What about the late night parties?

Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page

When I was out of high school, I wanted to author literature. I imagined a life where I lived in a cottage in the middle of the woods while I banged out a manuscript for my next bestseller. Somehow, the image of wearing one of those smoking jackets, sitting by the fire as I nursed a glass of Napoleon Brandy appealed to me.

That never happened. I’m pretty sure I suffered from ADD at the time, which in turn left me with jimmy legs. I couldn’t sit still for more than five seconds. Oh, well. At least I still have the notes to my ideas. That counts for something, right?

When I was much older, I dreamed of writing books. I wrote one book about zombies, I wrote another one about zombies and aliens, and now I’m writing a third about zombies again. I don’t think I ever gave up the dream of being a published author, although I may have changed what I’ve wanted to write about.

Am I happy? Yeah, I am. I’m glad I didn’t become an astronaut, a lawyer, a rock star or an author of literature. It took a long time for me to figure out my dreams. Was it worth it? Yeah, I would say so.

But I have to confess, it took a lot of work to become a published author. Had I known what I know now, I still would have done it the way I did. It’s the only way I knew how.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What is it about dreams that spur the imagination? Have you achieved your dreams?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Letter to Future Self

How would you start a letter addressed to your future self? Let’s say you know you’ll be opening it twenty-five years from now, what would you say? Would you start it off congratulating yourself for having survived another quarter century? Or would you simply turn over in bed one morning muttering something silly under your breath? Perhaps you would say, “Meh.”

I’ll tell you how I would do it…

Writing a letter to future self.
Writing a letter to future self.

Dear Jack,

Here you are, twenty-five years later. How does it feel to be officially old? Imagine where you were/where I am now, and pat yourself on the back for having survived this long. It takes guts to go through a full lifetime having read all the warning labels on products, obeying your traffic signals and eating the right things to live another day. But you did it. You’re here and there’s no turning back the clock.

How did I do? Did I finally become that best selling author I dreamed of becoming? Whatever happened to the blog I wrote? Did it go out peacefully, or did I call it quits while I unceremoniously set my laptop on fire? Do I still use a laptop? I would have thought by now I would have been typing on an air keyboard complete with optical sensors and biometric security.

Whatever happened to the movie I wanted to make? Did it ever become a success? Okay, so maybe that was shooting too high. At least I would have hoped to have realized it, right?

How are the kids? Did they grow up to become what you had wished—contributors to society? I didn’t forget that it doesn’t matter what they have become, as long as they’re healthy and happy, that’s all that matters. You do remember that, right?

Hey, how’s retirement? Did you retire like you were planning or are your working as a greeter at a department store? Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that, I would have imagined flipping burgers being more fun in the elderly years. The image of a cranky old dude flipping burgers seems like a lot of fun. Now that I’m thinking of it, did I do that? Yeah, if I have forgotten about my retirement plans it’s because of what I just wrote.

How’s the love of my life? Has she grown old with me? I’ve always had a sense of recognizing how important she is to my well-being. Did she provide the encouragement to become the best I could be? She is the mother of my children, after all. Did I comfort her during her down times? Did I offer her guidance as we moved from year to year? How is marriage treating me? Hopefully, as good as it is now.

Listen, Jack. I gotta tell you something. You know this, but after having read it twenty-five years later, I’m sure you have forgotten it. Have fun with your life. Keep focused and enjoy. I’m sure I’m going to have some nasty battles to fight. It won’t matter. As long as I know I will survive, that’s all I care about.

One more thing: About that Romance novel I will be publishing—I don’t need to mention again why I had written it, do I? It was something I had to get out of my system. The only thing you have to remember is that it was my way of decompressing from the zombie genre.

And the superhero thing—but we won’t get into that.

Yours in the past, always in the future,

Jack

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

A New Year

Happy New Year, folks! Welcome back to Monday Mayhem, where zombies rule and humans run. Perhaps this is a good time to lay the groundwork for 2015—what to expect and when, and to talk a bit about where JackFlacco.com is heading.

Everett's Hangout
Everett’s Hangout

First, two years have passed since I started writing three posts a week about zombies, strong female characters and anything else that pops into my mind. Recently, I’ve transitioned Wednesdays from my female-centric Women Who Wow Wednesday series to the testosterone-fueled Wednesday Warriors. This will continue through 2015, as the main character to my Ranger Martin series is just that—a testosterone-fueled warrior aiming to rid the world of the undead.

Second, if you haven’t caught my podcast interview with Denver Everett and TV Media Junkie Mark G. Pogue, I suggest you head on over to Everett’s Hangout to check out last week’s episode. Denver’s show is one of the few podcasts I listen to, and with Mark’s banter, I had so much fun fielding questions about my early years growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Toronto, my family life, and my writing. You’ll finally have an opportunity to associate my voice with my words. Have a listen and tell me what you think!

Ranger Martin and the Zombie ApocalypseThird, as many of you may know, the only time when I talk about my books is during release. I’ll typically write a post or two dedicated to Ranger Martin, his latest exploits, and the road I had to take in order to get the book published. Other than that, I’m the type of guy who holds his cards firmly to his chest, only releasing news when I have to.

That is, until today.

Today, I’m announcing Ranger Martin’s exploits will end this fall with the third and final book. This should not surprise anyone close to me, since I’ve talked about a Ranger trilogy for a long time.

When I began to write the first draft of Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse in 2011 for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I mapped a three-book arc for my hero that would include zombies, aliens, and other surprises. I had always meant it to be a trilogy, but never knew when I would complete it. Sure enough, here it is 2015, and I’m ready for the final, exciting chapter. Will there be zombie deaths? Oh, yes. Will there be revelations? Of course. Will there be explosions? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All I can say for now is stay tuned, folks.

Finally, I’m holding on to a couple of more announcements until the time is right, but until then, check here often, as this will be the place where I will release the big news.

Again, stay tuned. There’s more to come.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What is on your schedule for 2015?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Anniversary Week—Part I (2014)

December 17th was the two-year anniversary when Jack Flacco: The Official Site went live. In celebration of this milestone, I would like to present the Top 5 Most Popular Monday Mayhem posts of 2014.

Before we get to that, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who visited my site over the course of the year. It’s been quite a ride, folks. We’ve delved into zombies, zombie apocalypses and the like, and we had fun.

I don’t share this information freely, but I thought it appropriate given the nature of the festivities for the coming week. Here are some stats* you might find interesting:

  • Total views since going live: 113,376
  • The most views in one day: 1,194
  • Most views in one month: 7,741 views in October 2014
  • Most visitors in one month: 5,101 visitors in November 2014
  • The country with the most views: 31,520 views from the United States

* Statistics range from January 1, 2014 – December 29, 2014 as at 7:00am EST.

Let’s move along to the main attraction. When choosing the Top 5 Most Popular Monday Mayhem posts, I first wanted to present them based on amount of views. The more I thought of it though, the more it didn’t make sense. For instance, a visitor may pop into the site and hit the same post several times within the day. I didn’t think it fair, considering there could have only been two visitors for that day and a hundred views.

Next, I thought I’d use comments as the benchmark. You know, the more comments a post has, the more popular it is. Again, I didn’t think it represented a good way to measure popularity given I can comment on my own post a dozen times and push it ahead on the popularity scale.

No, what I used is the number of “likes” a post has garnered throughout the year. It will not only present a fair representation of popularity for a post but also prevents users from gaming the system with multiple “likes”.

Okay, enough chitchat.

The Top 5 Most Popular Monday Mayhem posts of 2014:

  1. Jack Flacco takes action to a new level.
    Jack Flacco takes action to a new level.

    My Second Book Release“Tomorrow, my second book in the Ranger Martin series releases. That sentence makes it sound as if something’s about to escape the San Diego Zoo. From what I know, literature doesn’t eat people. At least I don’t think it does. So I wouldn’t worry about wild books named Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion running…” ~60 likes

  2. Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)
    Asbury Park Zombie Walk 2010 (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

    Why I Like Zombies“Have I ever told you why I like zombies? I mean, I write my Monday Mayhem posts, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned the reason why I’m drawn to these ill-fated, putrid-smelling, bile-seeping maggot bags the media affectionately calls zombies. I have a number of reasons for liking them, and today, you’re going to find…” ~51 likes

  3. The Walking Dead
    The Walking Dead

    Zombies and Mental Illness“Zombies are undead eating machines. They kill, consume and hunt for victims. They have an insatiable appetite. Their goals are simple. Kill and eat. Is it a wonder zombies have a reputation of being one of the most feared creatures in Horror? Monday Mayhem has always been about the other side of madness. It will always…” ~50 likes

  4. R from the movie Warm Bodies
    R from the movie Warm Bodies

    Zombie Characters“A few days ago, I watched World War Z—again. This movie will not go away, will it? I remember thinking how quickly humans had turned into zombies. The bite. The convulsing. The white eyes. The shreaking. And the cycle continues. I’d noticed this before, but never really analyzed it in depth. Not something I’m about…” ~48 likes

  5. The Terminator
    The Terminator

    Terminators vs. Zombies“They keep coming and coming and don’t let up. They’ll hunt you down and kill you without mercy. They have no soul. They’re impervious to pain. They are dead inside, unable to feel empathy or feel anything for that matter. They will not rest until every single human soul lies dead under their feet. If…” ~47 likes

Come back Wednesday when I reveal the Top 5 Most Popular Women Who Wow Wednesday posts of 2014. Don’t miss it!

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Do you have a favorite Monday Mayhem post you’d recommend to your friends?